Adopt a Schoolyard Tree

Help young scientists connect with nature and learn about trees with a fun life science lesson. Heading out into the school yard, children choose a tree to adopt, taking measurements, writing descriptions, and drawing sketches of it in their science journals. Perform a series of observations over the course of a month, a semester, or the entire school year to allow the class to experience the seasonal changes trees undergo. This cross-curricular lesson brings together topics in math, language arts, and science and would make an excellent addition to an elementary science unit on plant life.

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CCSS: Adaptable

  • Tips are included for adapting this lesson for a range of age levels
  • Suggests an idea for a related service learning project
  • Provides an additional activity that extends learning about trees and their growth

  • Calculating the height of trees requires children to solve equivalent ratios, which may be too difficult for many young learners